Increasing Your Odds


    INCREASING YOUR ODDS: Here are some steps to follow once you've decided to get started:

    1. Get organized from the beginning.
    2. Plan on applying for as many scholarships as possible.
    3. Develop a suite of generic reusable materials (common theme essays – fine tune for each scholarship. Take specific themes and re-use them for other scholarships and school work).
    4. Leverage school work and class time (write school essays that can double for scholarship essays).
    5. Contact past scholarship winners for hints on being successful.
    6. Develop a list of potential recommendation writers
    7. Make and update personal inventory/resume lists:
      a. Extra-curricular activities

      b. Awards won
      c. Service activities
      d. Work experience
      e. Interests and hobbies

    Don't worry about finding the time to do all of this? The reality is that this is a front-loading process. The most time needed is on the front end, and then it becomes more maintenance. Treat it as an extra-curricular activity! Commit some time to it, and then do it!


    • Be a stand out amongst the others.
    • Individual scholarship committees all have their own criteria by which they select and grant the recipients of the award money.
    • Although there is not one uniform rubric that committees follow, there are some general qualifying guidelines that committee members like to see when reviewing scholarship applications such as organization and attention to detail


    • Treat each component of the application (essay, list of activities, etc.) as a part of the unified whole, not separate. Each contributes to the overall impression of the application.
    • Have theme and paint a personal, clear picture.
    • Be credible.
    • Invest in hard work & extra hours.
    • Overcome obstacles & roadblocks with grit and character.
    • Teamwork & completing projects with other people.
    • Perseverance- those struggles that have helped you get where you are now.
    • Individual initiative & taking action.
    • Passio & enthusiasm- Your sense of excitement and wonder.
    • Responsibility & accountability.
    • Civic duty & how you've given back.
    • Purpose- Reflect on where you want to go and how you will get there.
    • Character- Your ethical and moral fabric.
    • If you can demonstrate/present these virtues within your application, you increase your odds with the judges.

    SCORING POINTS: If you want to rise to the top of the pile of applicants, follow the following suggestions:

    • Define each scholarship's ideal applicant and emphasize personal attributes matching this definition.
    • Expand upon your strong points.
    • Shore up your weak areas (find painless ways to fill in your resume gaps).
    • Search for clues in the application and determine the motives of the donors.
    • Pay attention to the details.
    • Look for the unusual (criteria that stand out from other applications).